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magic

[maj-ik]
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noun
  1. the art of producing illusions as entertainment by the use of sleight of hand, deceptive devices, etc.; legerdemain; conjuring: to pull a rabbit out of a hat by magic.
  2. the art of producing a desired effect or result through the use of incantation or various other techniques that presumably assure human control of supernatural agencies or the forces of nature.Compare contagious magic, imitative magic, sympathetic magic.
  3. the use of this art: Magic, it was believed, could drive illness from the body.
  4. the effects produced: the magic of recovery.
  5. power or influence exerted through this art: a wizard of great magic.
  6. any extraordinary or mystical influence, charm, power, etc.: the magic in a great name; the magic of music; the magic of spring.
  7. (initial capital letter) the U.S. code name for information from decrypting machine-enciphered Japanese wireless messages before and during World War II.
adjective
  1. employed in magic: magic spells; magic dances; magic rites.
  2. mysteriously enchanting; magical: magic beauty.
  3. of, relating to, or due to magic.
  4. producing the effects of magic; magical: a magic touch.
verb (used with object), mag·icked, mag·ick·ing.
  1. to create, transform, move, etc., by or as if by magic: I magicked him into a medieval knight.

Origin of magic

1350–1400; Middle English magik(e) witchcraft < Late Latin magica, Latin magicē < Greek magikḗ, noun use of feminine of magikós. See Magus, -ic
Related formsqua·si-mag·ic, adjective

Synonyms

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2. enchantment. Magic, necromancy, sorcery, witchcraft imply producing results through mysterious influences or unexplained powers. Magic may have glamorous and attractive connotations; the other terms suggest the harmful and sinister. Magic is an art employing some occult force of nature: A hundred years ago television would have seemed to be magic. Necromancy is an art of prediction based on alleged communication with the dead (it is called “the black art,” because Greek nekrós, dead, was confused with Latin niger, black): Necromancy led to violating graves. Sorcery, originally divination by casting lots, came to mean supernatural knowledge gained through the aid of evil spirits, and often used for evil ends: spells and charms used in sorcery. Witchcraft especially suggests a malign kind of magic, often used against innocent victims: Those accused of witchcraft were executed.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for magic

Contemporary Examples

Historical Examples

  • I have existed in a magic Bohemia, largely of my own making.

    Ballads of a Bohemian

    Robert W. Service

  • She has the fascination of great pride and the magic of manners.

  • What magic in the utterance, what a revelation of Cleopatra's character and of Shakespeare's!

  • They had not seen the snake at all, but a stick that came back to the thrower's hand was magic.

    The Trail Book

    Mary Austin

  • The truth was that it was only by trusting to the magic of the white men that Patofa could get to us.

    The Trail Book

    Mary Austin


British Dictionary definitions for magic

magic

noun
  1. the art that, by use of spells, supposedly invokes supernatural powers to influence events; sorcery
  2. the practice of this art
  3. the practice of illusory tricks to entertain other people; conjuring
  4. any mysterious or extraordinary quality or powerthe magic of springtime
  5. like magic very quickly
adjective Also: magical
  1. of or relating to magica magic spell
  2. possessing or considered to possess mysterious powersa magic wand
  3. unaccountably enchantingmagic beauty
  4. informal wonderful; marvellous; exciting
verb -ics, -icking or -icked (tr)
  1. to transform or produce by or as if by magic
  2. (foll by away) to cause to disappear by or as if by magic
Derived Formsmagical, adjectivemagically, adverb

Word Origin

C14: via Old French magique, from Greek magikē witchcraft, from magos magus
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Word Origin and History for magic

n.

late 14c., "art of influencing events and producing marvels using hidden natural forces," from Old French magique "magic, magical," from Late Latin magice "sorcery, magic," from Greek magike (presumably with tekhne "art"), fem. of magikos "magical," from magos "one of the members of the learned and priestly class," from Old Persian magush, possibly from PIE *magh- (1) "to be able, to have power" (see machine). Transferred sense of "legerdemain, optical illusion, etc." is from 1811. Displaced Old English wiccecræft (see witch); also drycræft, from dry "magician," from Irish drui "priest, magician" (see druid).

adj.

late 14c., from Old French magique, from Latin magicus "magic, magical," from Greek magikos, from magike (see magic (n.)). Magic carpet first attested 1816. Magic Marker (1951) is a registered trademark (U.S.) by Speedry Products, Inc., Richmond Hill, N.Y. Magic lantern "optical instrument whereby a magnified image is thrown upon a wall or screen" is 1690s, from Modern Latin laterna magica.

v.

1906, from magic (n.).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

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